Incentive Spirometry for Prevention of Postoperative Pulmonary Complications After Thoracic Surgery
Incentive spirometry is frequently used after thoracic surgery as an adjunct to physiotherapy. Despite its widespread use, it has remained challenging to demonstrate a clinical benefit in terms of either incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications or hospital stay. In this literature review, we have observed that, although there is no study supporting clinical benefit in the thoracic surgical patient population generally, there is now emerging evidence of benefit in higher-risk patient
... gher-risk patient populations such as those with COPD. There is an indication that incentive spirometry can lead to a reduction in the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications in these patients. The problem with studies published to date is that there are many limitations, not least of which is the challenge of achieving patient adherence with performing incentive spirometry as prescribed. Despite the lack of evidence, there remains an appetite for persevering with incentive spirometry in the postoperative thoracic surgical patient because it is a relatively inexpensive intervention that motivates many patients to perform regular breathing exercises long after the therapist has moved on to the next patient.